Until this week, the city of Auburn let owners of dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs trot out behavioral testing certifications such as the American Canine Good Citizen test to exempt the dogs from restraint and registration requirements.
On Sept. 8, however, the Auburn City Council decided that anyone who has a dog like that will no longer be allowed to let the animal outside its enclosure unless they have muzzled or checked it with a hefty chain or a leash and placed it under the physical control of a responsible person who is older than 16 years.
Because, city officials say, the sort of bites inflicted by dogs like that typically involve an at-large aggressor, not a restrained dog that is acting as an aggressor.
Violators are subject to a misdemeanor and jail time.
The ordinance specifies that the dog’s enclosure has to be least 6 feet high as measured from the ground, unless there is a secured top to the fenced-in area, which must meet all applicable city codes.
Also, the muzzle cannot hurt the dog or interfere with its vision or breathing. Its only function must be to prevent the dog from biting any person or animal.
The council’s action removed changes that had been adopted on Dec. 6, 2019, in response to a bill in the Washington State Legislature regarding restraint and registration requirements for potentially dangerous dogs.
For a dog to be declared dangerous, or potentially dangerous in Auburn, it must have attacked, bitten, endangered, or injured a person or a domestic animal, without provocation.